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Legend Cricket Trophy’s team owner indicted for match-fixing in Sri Lanka

IANS | April 23, 2024 03:52 PM

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka's Attorney General has informed the court that Yoni Patel, the owner of Kandy Samp Army, one of the seven teams played in the Legends Cricket Trophy, has been indicted on charges of match-fixing.

A State Counsel representing the Attorney General informed the Colombo Magistrate on Monday that Patel had been charged with criminal charges before Colombo High Court. He is indicted on the counts of pressuring a cricketer to engage in corrupt practices during the Legends Cricket Trophy, played with the participation of a large number of retired international stars at Pallekele in the Central hills in Sri Lanka.

The investigation had been started on a complaint by Sri Lanka’s retired national cricketer Upul Tharanga, a player in the team owned by Patel himself.

Tharanga, Sri Lanka's former white ball captain and present Chairman of the Cricket Selection Committee, complained over match-fixing along with ex-New Zealand cricket legend Neil Broom, who was playing for Punjab Royals.

The duo had complained that they were approached by two individuals who identified themselves as the Kandy Samp team owner and the Punjab Royals manager.

According to the initial investigations, one of the alleged match-fixers had approached players with offers of money to underperform and fix the result of the matches.

In the initial investigation, it was revealed that Tharanga had immediately complained to the Special Investigation Unit of the Sri Lanka Sports Ministry, set up to prevent sports-related corruption, while Broom reported to New Zealand Cricket and later to the International Cricket Council (ICC).

SIU investigation revealed that the team manager had summoned Broom to his room and advised him to score less than 10 runs after facing more than 10 balls.

The Attorney General informed about the indictment on Monday when the legal team of Patel, who is on bail and on a travel band, filed a motion before the Colombo Magistrate Court to revoke the travel restrictions.

After the initial investigation, Patel was released on a surety bail of Sri Lankan Rs.10 million but imposed a travel restriction for 30 days. Later it was extended for 90- more days prohibiting Patel and the manager of Punjab Royals, P. Akash, from leaving Sri Lanka till June 12.

The Magistrate had also ordered the Controller of Immigration and Emigration about the travel ban to restrict the duo from leaving through an airport.

Featuring seven teams comprising retired international cricketers from England, Australia, India, Pakistan, New Zealand and the West Indies, the Legend Cricket League 2024 was held from March 8 to March 19 at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in island’s Central province mountains in Kandy.

The country’s cricket governing body, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) was not officially involved in the tournament but only provided the venue for the championship.

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